Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus) – Group: Violet/Lavender

A pair of Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus) with the male on the left and the female on the right. This type of Eclectus is the nominate subspecies of the genus, i.e. the only species of the genus according to the taxonomy of Howard & Moore. One notices that the green plumage of the male is of a duller and darker hue than that of most subspecies. In addition, one also notices that the female has no blue feathers around the eye. Photo from the internet.

The Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus) was the first type of Eclectus Parrot that was discovered and described by science by the German zoologist, Philipp Ludwig Statius Müller – or simply Statius Müller (25th April 1725 – 5th January 1776), in 1776, the same year that he died. As a result, it is automatically considered the nominate subspecies. Its English species name "Grand Eclectus" does not suggest that it is the most beautiful representative of the genus, only that the first observers definitely thought that this bird was large in appearance.

Colour description

Adult male: The body plumage has a duller, somewhat darker green body colour compared to the plumage of a male Vosmaer's Eclectus (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri), which is light grass green. The outer vanes of the primaries are dark blue with a narrow green edge. The middle tail feathers are green, while the outer tail feathers are blackish green gradually changing to dark blue towards the tip. The underside of the tail is blackish in colour.

On the body sides (flanks) an oval area of bright red feathers is visible even when its wings are folded. When the wings are spread, the bright red area can be seen that runs on the body below the wings and continues all the way to the underwing coverts.

A faint olive yellow colour can be observed on the tip of the tail along the edge of the tail, but in some specimens the edge is yellowish white. This dull yellow tail tip is much more visible when viewed from below (from the rump) than when viewed from above. The yellow tip is much fainter than that which can be observed on the male Vosmaer's Eclectus (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri).

The upper bill varies from light reddish orange to a slightly paler shade (a pale orange upper bill is usually a sign that it is either a young bird or that the bird is offered insufficiently varied nutrition, vitamins and minerals in its diet). The upper bill is more slender than seen in any of the subspecies. The lower bill is black. The outer iris ring goes from straw yellow to orange yellow. The inner iris ring is brownish black. The feet are dark grey.

Adult female: The female is one of the most difficult females to species identify. Some of the colour features found in the female Vosmaer's Eclectus (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri) are also found in the female Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus). These birds typically come from the island of Seram in the central part of the Maluku Islands (Moluccas), which is the border of the Vosmaer's Eclectus' range.

The breast and breast feathers have a somewhat dark violet colour. The greatest variation found in Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus) females is the location of the dividing line between the red head and the dark violet breast feathers. In some individuals, the violet breast feathers are mixed with red head feathers at the chin line, which is the least frequently observed type. Other females have an approximately 3.75 cm wide area of violet feathers mixed with red feathers at the chest. Still other females have a clear demarcation between the red feathers and the violet breast feathers.

The total length of the tail is shorter than that of the female Vosmaer's Eclectus (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri) and appears orange, often with a tendency to an orange-yellow tinge. This orange-yellow colour is lighter on the upper side. The central "V"-shaped area on the rump is usually dark red.

The beak is black. The outer iris ring is yellowish to whitish yellow in colour. The inner iris ring is brownish black. The feet are dark grey.

Juveniles: Nestlings are covered with black-grey down, and the beak is yellowish, the legs are grey and the claws are black. Juvenile plumage becomes visible at 22 - 25 days of age, with male juveniles turning green with red breast sides and female juveniles turning red with violet breast feathers and light blue bend of wings. Approximately at 2 months old, the chicks appear as adult birds, and at the age of nearly 1 year, they can be difficult to distinguish from the adult birds.

Length specification for this subspecies

When you read various specialist literature on Eclectus Parrots, you may well be surprised by such different length specifications given for one and the same (sub)species. In addition, such a competent authority as Joseph M. Forshaw in his work, "Parrots of the World", 1st edition from 1973, (ISBN 0 7018 0024 0), does not indicate a length (neither an average length nor a span) for the different types of Eclectus Parrots. On that basis, I have chosen to use the length specifications from two other different sources, below:

  • Average length: 35 cm, according to "A Guide to ... Eclectus Parrots", revised edition from 2004, by Rob Marshall and Ian Ward (ISBN 0 9750817 0 5).
  • Length: 35 cm, according to "Lexicon of Parrots" (CD version 3.0) from 2008, by Thomas Arndt (ISBN 3-9808245-3-5).

Only in very few cases has a country's postal service been so precise that an actual subspecies designation has been given for the type of Eclectus Parrot that has been used as a motif on a stamp. Here you can see a stamp from the African country Sierra Leone, which has illustrated a female of the Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus), and where you can clearly state that females of this nominate subspecies do not have any blue plumage around the eye. Sierra Leone, which was originally a British crown colony, became an independent country on 27 April 1961. Sierra Leone is located in West Africa next to the Atlantic Ocean, i.e. far away from the Eclectus Parrots' natural range. The country has borders with Liberia and Guinea. The capital is called Freetown, which throughout the 1990s was the center of a violent civil war.

In the wild

Is common in its range, which includes the central and southern Maluku Islands (Moluccas), including the islands of Buru and Seram. The latest available field information states that it is said to be extinct on the islands of Ambon (Amboina), Saparua and Haruku. Conversely, this nominate subspecies has been introduced by humans to the very small Gorong Islands southeast of the main Maluku Island.

Birds from the island of Seram show a tendency to resemble Vosmaer's Eclectus (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri) in phenotype, cf. the section on natural intermediate forms in the article "Generally about Eclectus Parrots" here at

It occupies the canopy of all wooded habitats and is most common in primary lowland forest but is also found from coast to mid-montane areas, including mangroves, freshwater swamp, dryland forest, coastal scrub, denser savanna woodland, parkland, plantations, and garden areas. It becomes much rarer above 1000 m but has been encountered up to 1900 m. Typically feeds on fruits, seeds, nuts, leaf-buds and blossoms.

Breeds between August and September, possibly January, November on Buru, but is very likely at any time of the year. Nests in holes high up on trees, generally in a clearing or at forest edge, with up to eight birds attending each nest.


BirdLife International, the official "Red List" authority for birds on behalf of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), continuously assesses the status of how threatened all kinds of birds are in the wild. However, as a starting point, BirdLife International only operates at the species level and not at the subspecies level, which means that all possible subspecies, including the nominate subspecies, which together make up the species, are grouped together under this. In its descriptions and assessments, BirdLife International make no detailed distinctions between the nominate subspecies and the other subspecies. However, BirdLife International uses another taxonomy than Howard & Moore, according to which the Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus) is considered one of two subspecies (the nominate subspecies) of the "Moluccan Eclectus" (Eclectus roratus) where the Vosmaer's Eclectus (Eclectus roratus vosmaeri) is the other subspecies. Both of these subspecies are therefore treated as one by BirdLife International.

The largest threat currently posed to this species under one comes from hunting and trapping for the wildlife trade. This has led to a notable decline in the species population but not to a sufficient degree to classify it as threatened, so the current status is "Least concern".

Nature protection measures

BirdLife International has not listed specific conservation measures for this nominate subspecies listed on CITES, List II.

In the large luxury hotels on the Hawaiian Islands, you sometimes see trees in the associated resort areas in which large tame parrots sit that have had their primaries and secondaries clipped. These are typically different species of Macaws and Eclectus Parrots, which at certain times of the day also are used for "parrot shows", where the birds perform rehearsed arts. The last time I was in the Hawaiian Islands, I saw, among other things, this Eclectus male, which has the rather boring green plumage of the Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus). Whether it is a "pure" bird or a cross-breed bird, I should not be able to say.

In human care

The Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus) was until the 1960’s one of the most frequently imported types of Eclectus Parrots in Europe. It has been known in human care for far more than 100 years, as it was already bred in Germany in 1880. In 1912 it was first bred in Great Britain. When breeding in human care, it has been experienced that the male has fed the young of the first clutch, whereas the female herself has fed the young of the second clutch.

It is kept today in limited numbers in Australia's aviaries, but it is uncertain whether it is pure strains. Only a small number of this form is found among aviculturists in the United States, whereas it is most common among aviculturists in Europe, although many of these specimens are probably also cross-bred specimens.

These birds love - similar to the other types of Eclectus Parrots - to take a sand bath. You can therefore advantageously have a box filled with an approximately 5 cm thick layer of beach sand, which the birds also like to dig around in, as in nature they are also seen on the ground, where they dig for tubers. At the same time, the birds also consume a little sand, which helps to facilitate the digestion of food that has already been consumed.

Hand-tamed Eclectus Parrots love a trip under the hand shower, where the bird puffs up its plumage and spreads its wings to get completely drenched. You must of course ensure that the water is lukewarm and that the water jets are not too powerful. Personally, however, I preferred to give my pet bird a bath using a flower atomizer containing boiled, chilled water. When the birds are wet, you must of course ensure that they have a warm place to stay, and the birds must never be exposed to drafts, which is especially true when they have a wet plumage, otherwise they risk in the worst case being able to contract pneumonia that can be fatal.

In several books you can read that Eclectus Parrots must have plenty of natural branches, as in many cases they would rather climb than fly. That is why the cage bird books of earlier times also recommended climbing trees, as the birds had to make very little use of their wings. As has already been stated under the general article on Eclectus Parrots, this assumption is probably rather related to the fact that Eclectus Parrots have not been offered sufficiently large aviaries, as they use the first approximately 7 - 10 m after taking off from a branch to get "air under the wings". Climbing trees and natural branches must be placed high in the aviary, as this suits the birds' nature best, and as they otherwise wear their tails in the wire mesh when they are directed to sit high up in this.

You can also read in several cage bird books that Eclectus Parrots are not large rodents, and therefore do not need aviaries of strong material. That was originally my view as well, but the more Eclectus Parrots I have come across over the years, the more I have had to change this view. Currently I have a pair of Eclectus Parrots that simply gnaw on anything worth gnawing on. Even their nest box, which is made of hard wood, they have been able to gnaw to pieces. I can therefore only state that my Eclectus Parrots have not read these books.

Photos of adult Seram Eclectus females taken by me on various occasions in Loro Parque, Tenerife, Spain.

In the weeks leading up to the female getting into breeding mood, she can cause quite a bit of trouble before she reconciles with the male, which is why the male must be physically robust and preferably older than the female. I have bad experiences with putting together pairs where the male is too young. The male's mating call can sound like a "meow" from a cat in love. As described under the general article on Eclectus Parrots, the male strikes his beak against the female's head and neck - or beak - as well as the branch on which they are perched. At the same time, a slightly whispering sound can be heard. As the female is very active during mating, it is not recommended to keep 2 females together, as it will go wrong due to the aggressive behaviour of the females. On the other hand, 2 males usually do not notice each other (unless it is an adult male who has been alone with a female for a long time), and the idea is good, as the birds can then mate themselves. The initiative for mating itself comes from the female and is most evident when she begs for food and chases him.

The male keeps watch outside the nest box when the female begins to stay in the nest more regularly and throughout the period when she lays and incubates. Breeding has often been successful in an ordinary vertical nest box, such as can have the dimensions 50 cm in height and 30 x 30 cm in bottom dimensions. Personally, I prefer larger nest boxes, so that the female does not risk destroying the eggs on the way down through the nest box. The nest entrance hole must be 10 cm in diameter, and if the female does not think it is big enough, she gnaws it bigger herself, as is also known from nature. The bottom of the nest box can be filled in advance with e.g. a 7 - 8 cm thick layer of dust free wood chips or sawdust.

In outdoor aviaries, eggs are typically laid in April or May, whereas rearing indoors can take place all year round except during the moulting period. In our latitudes (Northern Europe), Eclectus Parrots usually moult once a year with a duration of 2 - 3 months. Under the right circumstances, you can have up to 2 clutches in a year. The clutch usually consists of 2 pure white oval eggs, which the female incubates alone for approximately 28 days. The chicks are naked until they are nearly 10 days old, where black-grey down comes. Approximately at 25 days old, the dense and black down coat is complete. You can tell the difference between the sexes when the first feathers of the chicks appear in the nest box. Experienced aviculturists can distinguish the sexes already before the feathers develop, as the female's down is darker than the male's. Between the downs come the first cover feathers on the head and wings, so the sexes can be determined with certainty. Approximately at 8 weeks of age, the plumage is complete, and the chicks resemble the adult birds except for the bill colour, where the tip of the upper bill is yellow and has black markings, and the iris colour, which is black, in addition to which the plumage is duller. Besides, the juveniles are smaller in size. At around 13 weeks old at the earliest, the young take food themselves.

Even in Northern Europe, Eclectus Parrots can be kept in outdoor aviaries all year round, so that in the winter the birds can always freely choose to move into an indoor aviary in a heated bird house. The birds like to sit outside for several hours even in freezing weather, and any newly fallen snow often needs to be examined more closely.

A newly fledged juvenile Seram Ecleclus male. Note the black colour on the upper part of the upper beak that characterizes young birds in the first patrt of their life.

Colour mutations

I am not aware of any colour mutations of this nominate species.


In human care, you can choose to feed Eclectus Parrots either on a predominantly fruit, vegetable and berry-based diet (which is close to its natural diet) or on a seed mixture in the form of a good parrot mixture combined with pellets. You must pay attention to the following: The more fruit, vegetables and berries the birds get, the thinner and more liquid their excrement becomes and they defecate more often.

The optimal feed composition is probably a fruit, vegetable and berry-based diet consisting of seasonal fruits, including ripe (sweet) apples, pears, oranges, grapes, cucumbers, carrots, beans, lentils, bird grass, various types of lettuce, dandelion, rose hips, peas, hawthorn berries and rowan berries, etc., which are supplemented with a seed mixture as supplementary feed. Seeds can also be given in sprouted form, where both wheat and - not least - different sunflower varieties should be included. The birds are also happy with rusks and dry wheat bread.

You can also offer the birds fresh corncobs, cooked corn and rice, which they are extremely happy with, and which, incidentally, in many cases was the diet that was primarily fed to newly imported Eclectus Parrots during the acclimatization period back in the 1960’s.

During the breeding period, you can also give supplementary food in the form of soft food, which can either be homemade or factory-made mixed egg food. A homemade egg feed can - in addition to hard-boiled chopped egg - also include two rusks, dextrose, Vispumin, buttermilk powder and cod liver oil drops. It has been seen at the beginning of the breeding period that the male primarily took such soft food, but later switched to sunflower, hemp, carrots, fruit, lettuce, beans and peas. The chicks are also happy to be fed fresh corncobs, later fruit and salad as well as boiled rice and oatmeal.

In addition, you can offer the birds pellets, which in my experience is quite easy to get them used to, but please note the previously described caveats about certain providers of this food item, cf. the section on nutrition in the article "Generally about Eclectus Parrots".

I have continuously tried to feed my Eclectus Parrots animal food in the form of mealworms, but to date I have not succeeded in getting them to consume this food, which is a shame as mealworms contain easily digestible protein.

Different forms of calcium supplements must never be missing. My birds prefer an iodine block which is suspended in the wire netting and it doesn't take long before it is broken and a new one has to be set up.

The Seram Eclectus (Eclectus roratus roratus), like its various subspecies, always has a voracious appetite. In order to constantly maintain close contact with my Eclectus Parrots, I also regularly give them treats when they least expect it. Regardless of whether it is a peanut or a small piece of sweet apple, they devour the treat with great appetite. Normally, Eclectus Parrots - unlike many other medium-sized parrot species - do not hold their food with one foot while eating, but when my birds are given aflatoxin-free peanuts once in a while, they always hold it with one foot while eating.

As with all other bird species that are kept in human care, it is important to have a feed composition that is as varied as possible. In this way, the birds are ensured the best possible resilience.

Jorgen Petersen

Conceived/Updated: 16.12.2011 / 01.04.2024